Swatch Sistem51 Irony Review – Latest Addition To Swatch’s Automatic Watch Family

sistem51-irony-earth-yis400-1

After the success of their Sistem51 automatic watches 3 years ago that sparked lots of buzz in the watch industry, Swatch recently followed up with its latest line, Sistem51 Irony which is basically their Sistem51 automatic movement in a stainless steel case. Just released in September 2016, it is undoubtedly Swatch’s response to those that like the idea of Swatch’s simple and cheaper automatic movement (with 90 hours power reserve!) but don’t really prefer the plastic case and colorful dial/watch face in the original Sistem51. Let’s look what’s the Sistem51 Irony all about and how it’s holding up with the original Sistem51.

Swatch Sistem51 Irony Review - Latest Addition To Swatch's Automatic Watch Family

Swatch Sistem51 Irony Specification

Diameter: 42 mm
Thickness: 13.8 mm
Lug To Lug: 50 mm
Case: Stainless steel
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet / leather strap / rubber strap

Movement: Sistem51 Automatic self-wind movement
Power Reserve: 90 Hours

Water Resistance: 3 bar/ 30 m/ 100 feet
Other Features: Date display, Lume on hands (for some model only)

Who Is It For: Those looking for a cheaper automatic watch and might be turned off by the plastic case of the original Sistem51

Price: Less than $200

 

Swatch Sistem51 Irony Review - Latest Addition To Swatch's Automatic Watch Family

The Sistem51 Irony is enclosed in a stainless steel case featuring a more traditional looking dial – unlike the usual colorful looking watch that Swatch if famous for

Sistem51 Irony – Sistem51 Movement In A Stainless Steel Case

The Sistem51 Irony is a crossover of two Swatch’s lines of watches: Sistem51 and Irony lines. The Sistem51 is the automatic watch by Swatch with revolutionary movement (we will discuss this more below). The Irony line on the other hand is the typical Swatch quartz watch but with a stainless steel case.

The result of this is the Sistem51 Irony – the unique Sistem51 automatic movement inside a stainless steel case and more reserved dial design. While the original Sistem51 is housed in typical Swatch plastic casing, the Sistem51 Irony will undoubtedly cater to those that want a more mature automatic watch, something that can be worn to work or social events: those places where a typical colorful Swatch won’t fit in. With this watch, Swatch has blurred the lines between their typical funky looking watches with full fledged watches.

sutt400-sistem-incognito

In comparison, the original Swatch Sistem51 is made of colorful dials and straps. Pictured above is the Sistem51 Incognito

 

A More Elegant Dial

For their newest line, Swatch has released 7 variations of the Sistem51 Irony though I’m sure more will come as what happened with the Sistem51. The dials are more reserved, and uses “normal” colors on a watch such as silver, white, blue and black. The dial design also is not as funky looking as the original Sistem51. Swatch also uses metallic dial to get that gorgeous sunburst effect on some of them.

On the dial is the typical 3 hands with a date indicator at 3 o’clock. The markings are mostly numeral, except for two models that have index markings. It is much reserved and Swatch only used one tone of color on the dial, unlike Sistem51 with lots of bright colors.

In short, the Sistem51 Irony is a toned down Swatch watch. It looks just like any normal watch but you can still sense some Swatch styling DNA in them.

 

Sistem51 Inside A Stainless Steel Case

Another step up from the Sistem51 is the stainless steel case. The case is brushed or polished depending on the models (the rubber strap is brushed while the leather and bracelet versions are polished). It is 42 mm in diameter with 13.8 mm thickness. Lug to lug width is 50 mm. All in all, it’s not too big for a guy’s wrist though a lady could have some problem putting it on.

Something that I don’t like with the case is how it’s not so detailed unlike cases for other watch brands such as Tissots, Bulovas, Hamiltons, Seikos and Orients just to name a few. The case lacks any contour and detail – it’s constructed in a very simple way that is not that exciting to see. I understand that Swatch has to make it very simple to cut costs but a bit of detail on the case’s craftsmanship certainly wouldn’t hurt.

A terrific video showing the latest Sistem51 Irony side by side with the original Sistem51. Inside the video is the Sistem51 Irony Earth (silver dial with brown leather strap), Sistem51 Irony Arrow (black dial with black rubber strap) and Sistem51 Arlequin (silver dial with white rubber strap).

Comes With 3 Strap Options: Rubber, Leather And Stainless Steel Bracelet

Sistem51 Irony comes with 3 strap options, and no, you won’t be able to buy that colorful funky looking strap Swatch is well known about. The straps are traditional in color: rubber in black while leather in brown and black.

One thing to note is that the strap is secured to the watch by Swatch’s typical 3 tangs lugs. This means that you can’t change the strap with an aftermarket strap and have to order it from Swatch. Fortunately the removal of the strap is not so difficult. This video shows how easy it is (in fact the removal and putting it back is much easier than normal watch).

Of all 3 strap options, I like the leather straps the most as it looks quite good with the watch. It’s also have the best look. The rubber strap is too sporty, while the SS bracelet looks cheap to be honest.

 

Sistem51 Automatic Movement – An Innovative Swiss Movement

I’ve written about the Sistem51 automatic movement before (you can read the whole review here) but I would like to say it again that it is the cheapest Swiss automatic around.

The movement is designed by ETA, Swatch Group’s movement manufacturer and comprises of just 51 parts. All of those are grouped into 5 modules. This simplifications (normal automatic movement has more than 100 parts) is done so that the assembly of the watch can be done by machines.

This cut back the time and manpower needed to manufacture the watch, and thus reduces the cost (yay!). A typical Swiss automatic is more than $300 and the Sistem51 retails for less than $150 while the Sistem51 Irony is less than $200. That’s a huge reduction in cost!

 

Swatch Sistem51 Irony Review - Latest Addition To Swatch's Automatic Watch Family

Sistem51 Irony still maintains the exhibition caseback featuring the beautiful rotor and movement design. The rotor will rotate freely even under slight movement showing a pretty pattern while it spun.

 

A Huge 90 hours Power Reserve

Another selling point of the Sistem51 movement is the huge 90 hours power reserve which totally blows most automatic watches out there. To have such a power reserve is just too good to be true. Normal automatic watches will have 40 hours or 1 and a half day before you need to wind or wear it again.

The 90 hours power reserve means the watch can stand idle for almost 4 days! That’s double than what a normal watch can give. Not to mention that it can be manually wind, which means you don’t have to use a watch winder to keep it running.

 

Swatch Sistem51 Irony Release Date And Price

The Sistem51 Irony was released last month, September 2016. The price varies depending on the models (the stainless steel will cost the most, followed by the leather version while the rubber strap will be the cheapest). But it will be less than $200 for sure.

 

Where To Buy Swatch Sistem51 Irony?

As of now, I can’t find any online retailers that stock this watch. There’s none on Amazon or Ebay currently. It’s not surprising actually as the watch is still fresh out of the oven. The only way to get your hand on the Sistem51 Irony is by visiting your local Swatch store. You can also buy it online by visiting Swatch official website.

 

Swatch Sistem51 Irony Review - Latest Addition To Swatch's Automatic Watch Family

 

So, Is The Swatch Sistem51 Irony Worth It?

The original Sistem51 is an automatic in true Swatch fashion: colorful, fun looking watch. It’s a really good second watch for when you hang out with your friends, go on vacation etc. The charm is in the automatic movement that Swatch claims can go up to 20 years without needing any service. That means it’s battery free and you can use it hassle free for the next 20 years.

But this Sistem51 Irony is a bit more than that. It has the same movement but the case is designed to be like a normal watch. It’s cheap for an automatic watch and has a great looking dial but I feel the quality of the steel case is not up to other automatic watch standard.

Maybe it’s done on purpose to maintain that Swatch look but I feel a better case design with some curves here is much needed. To this, I would totally recommend that you visit your nearest Swatch store to check out the watch and make your own opinion yourselves.

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Hope you enjoyed my post on the Swatch Sistem51 Irony. Feel free to put your comments down below. I would love to hear what you think about this new Swatch. Till then. Cheers!

Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches Review – A Perfect Second Watch

Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches Review

Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches was launched 3 years ago to huge interest from the watch community.

When I first read the news about it, I thought it was just an automatic movement inserted into a plastic Swatch case aka a marketing gimmick.

How wrong was I!

The Sistem51 is much more than that. Just like how Swatch has revolutionized the watch industry more than 30 years ago, the Sistem51 is something truly different than any other automatic watches ever made.

Not just that, with lots of colors and styles typical of Swatch watches, you will definitely be able to find something that you like. Now, let’s get on to the review of this amazing wrist watch.

 

Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches Review

 

Update: I’ve recently featured the Swatch Sistem51 in my list of the top 10 automatic watches under $200. You guys can check the article HERE.

 

Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches Specification:

Diameter: 42 mm
Thickness: 13 mm
Lug To Lug Width: 50.6 mm
Case: Plastic
Strap: Synthetic silicone with buckle
Movement: Sistem51 Automatic self-wind movement
Power Reserve: 90 Hours
Water Resistance: 3 bar/ 30 m/ 100 feet
Other Features: Date display, Lume on markers and hands

Who Is It For: Those looking for a cheap second automatic watch for casual use

Best Place To Buy: Amazon

What Is Sistem51?

The name is coined from the 51 parts of the automatic movement of the watch. The Sistem51 line is a line of automatic watches from Swatch that uses their proprietary automatic movement.

It is not to be confused with the “Sistem51 Irony” that uses premium material such as leather strap and stainless steel case.

Another automatic watch line from Swatch is the “Irony” line that uses ETA 2824 movement with stainless steel case and bracelet (just like other automatic watches out there).

The Sistem51 is a revolutionary of some sort. The 51 parts of components are the least number of parts in any automatic or mechanical watch ever!

Typical number of parts for a basic automatic watch is around 100 to 200 by the way so to design a watch with only 51 parts is nothing short of extraordinary.

The simplification process and innovation done by them is truly outstanding. The production also uses fully automated system, i.e using robots instead of human which is also a first in the automatic watch world.

Not only that, the usage of plastic casing to house an automatic movement is also something unheard of before. This, and many more reasons make the Sistem51 a truly revolutionary automatic watch.

Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches – The Cheapest Swiss Automatic?

Swatch customers are usually the young people looking for a cheap, funky and affordable watch in the range of $50.

It is because of this the company has marketed the Sistem51 to be around $100 to $150, with plastic casing that their normal customers already used to.

The idea of a watch that don’t need to be changed battery, as well as having a mechanical movement instead of a typical quartz is very enticing.

Even though it is about double or triple of their normal watches, it is still very affordable and is the cheapest Swiss automatic watch currently.

And considering the cheapest Swiss automatic starts from $300, it is a very good price.

But how are they able to reduce the price so much? The answer lies in the production process of the Sistem51.

By simplifying the watch’s components to only 51 parts through major design change (only one screw to hold everything, break everything into 5 modules, etc), the assembly process becomes much easier so much so that an automated assembly line is conceivable to be used.

The reduction of manpower, as well as cheaper parts and usage of plastic case and strap cut down the cost.

The final result is the cheapest Swiss Automatic Watch ever but still has that stamp of high quality Swiss made watches, albeit in a plastic case.

Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches Review

 

Truly Innovative Movement

The Sistem51 automatic movement is very innovative. Designed by ETA, Swatch’s own movement production company, it is still a true Swiss movement.

The 51 parts and fully automated assembly are just one of the first in the industry. Not only that, it boasts a 90 hours power reserve, something that is very outstanding for automatic watches.

Typical power reserve is around 40 hours (8 hours short of 2 full days) which is less than half of what the Sistem51 has. How is that for an $150 watch eh?

The automatic movement is also regulated using robots and laser precision. This means that the room for error is very little, unlike traditional automatic movements that are regulated manually.

Once it’s assembled, the watch is hermetically sealed, ensuring it is airtight and wont allow any water, dust or other things to get into it. Swatch claims  that the Sistem51 automatic movement is accurate up to +-10 seconds per day which is not bad at all.

They also claim that the watch can go for a full 20 years without needing any service whatsoever. Now that’s really huge as normal watches have to be serviced every 3 to 5 years depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation.

The innovation is very welcomed but I feel the movement is not as refined as any normal Swiss or even Japanese automatic movement.

I’ve tried it a few times and feel the Swatch Sistem51 movement produced quite a loud noise. The sweeping second hand is beating at around 6 beats per second I believe (I’ve tried to find this info but so far I can’t get a hold of it. Swatch is silent on the movement’s specifics).

But the loud noise of the movement is very obvious, though not as loud as quartz movement but still not as quiet as other Swiss or Japanese movement.

Some people feel that the watch lack a “soul” because of it’s mechanized assembly and lack of human touch but to me that’s not a really important factor.

I think an automated assembly of the movement is better than a human assembly because there is little room for any error in assembling the movement.

Though of course this is very hard to achieve because a typical automatic movement contains hundreds of parts and the assembly process is very hard to be automated.

 

A video showing the Swatch Sistem51 in action. You can see and hear that the movement is not as refined as other Swiss automatic watches. But then again, this watch costs less than $150, a very huge discount from the other Swiss watches.

 

A Disposable Automatic Watch?

One thing that everyone need to be wary about is since the watch is hermetically sealed, the watch cannot be opened and repaired or serviced.

Well, its a Swatch after all.. But this concept really goes against the traditional principles of owning an automatic watch – that is you are buying something that you can use and keep for a long time.

It is important to note that vintage watches are still very sought after. They can still be kept running after going through a full service.

It is evident that Swatch intends to make the Sistem51 to be a disposable automatic watch, same as its normal watches.

For me, that’s not a really bad idea. After all, the watch is relatively cheap compared to normal automatic watch, so a disposable automatic watch is not that difficult to swallow for me.

But with the claim by Swatch that the watch can still be kept running for 20 years, there really is no reason to open or service it.

Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches Review

Swatch Sistem51 SUTT400 Incognito. The back of the movement can be seen through the exhibition caseback and is different for each of the watch’s models.

 

Colorful And Funky Designs

Looking at the design of the Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches, you will see that it’s just the same as any other typical Swatch watches – colorful, fun and funky design with matching plastic casing and strap.

As I’ve said before, it is essentially an automatic movement in a normal Swatch watch. The dials are colorful and attractive to look at. It also has a small date display for an added functionality.

On the back is an exhibition caseback to display the Sistem51  movement. You can see the big main screw that at the center of the watch.

Swatch has make sure the whole design scheme of any model to be reflected on the caseback too, giving a nice individuality to any model.

One thing that I really love is the rotor of this watch. The rotor is the spinning bearing exclusive for an automatic watch to wind the mainspring.

When we are wearing the watch on our wrist, any movement will move this rotor, which in turn will tighten the mainspring and adding to its power reserve.

Typical rotor design is a semi-circular in shape. But in this watch, the rotor is a full circle. It is transparent in color but have a nice colorful design at the edge of the circle.

Once it moves, the rotor will make a swift rotation that is quite lively to look at. Have a look at the nice spinning rotor design in the video below.

 

A video showing the spinning rotor of the Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watch. Notice how fluid and effortless the rotor spins inside the movement. The rotor edge design really adds up to the characteristic of this watch.

 

Swatch Sistem51 = Second Watch For Automatic Only Guys

I have to admit I really like this watch. I like how it is different than a normal stainless steel automatic watches normally around.

The colorful plastic casing and silicone strap that is very light and superbly comfortable on wrist are big pluses. Not to mention that it is an automatic too. In short, it is a perfect alternative watch for guys that will only wear an automatic watch (for example, me).

I believe Swatch target two groups for this watch: the usual young people that buy their normal watches and automatic watch guys.

The young people will be attracted to the Sistem51 because it is automatic movement, does not need a battery to operate and has the unique movement and rotor seen through its caseback. Automatic watch guys on the other hand will be attracted because of its different design and material use.

It’s also very cheap compared to any other Swiss automatic out there. This will make it a perfect second watch for these guys (Swatch is actually an combination of the words “Second Watch”).

 

Various Variation And Styles For Anyone

There is a huge number of variation and styles offered and it is growing year by year. The colors range from traditional black/blue to more outrageous color for a watch such as orange and pink – very true to Swatch designs.

They also feature different dial designs, different markers (numbers, index, dots, or no markers) as well as different caseback design to suit the watch.

With so much styles to choose from, it is like a huge offering of different watches by Swatch! Below are some of the styles of the Sistem51 automatic watches:

 

The gallery above shows just some of the styles Swatch has released for the Sistem51 line.. and it is growing year by year!

Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches Advantages And Disadvantages

I’ve summarized the pros and cons of this watch for your easy reference.

Pros:

1- Funky looking and beautiful design.
2- Exhibition caseback shows colorful and decorated movement at the back. The ring rotor is simply gorgeous and captivating
3- Very light and comfortable to wear
4- Even though it is made from plastic, the material is of high quality feels good to touch
5- From $100 to $150, it is the cheapest Swiss automatic watch
6- 90 hours power reserve is very outstanding and useful
7- At only 51 parts, it the automatic watch with the least parts
8- The first entirely machine assembled automatic watch

Cons:

1- Plastic casing might turn off some people
2- 30 m water resistance is too low
3- Lume on the markers and hands are quite weak
4- Movement is not refined as other Swiss automatic watches
5- Since it is hermetically sealed, servicing is not possible

 

Looking To Buy The Swatch Sistem51? Get It Cheapest From Amazon!

If you are looking to buy the Swatch Sistem51 Automatic Watches, check out the various offers on Amazon.

Amazon currently lists the watches ranging from $100 to $150, arguably the cheapest right now. Click the link below to check out the best deals on Amazon.

–>>Click The Links Below To Check The Best Prices On Amazon<<–

SUTB402 Sistem Chic White dial with black case/strap
SUTR400 Sistem Red Black dial with red case and black strap
SUTS402 Sistem ClassBlack dial with blue case and black strap
SUTG400 Sistem GreenGreen and Blue dial with matching case/strap
SUTN400 Sistem NavyWhite dial with blue case/strap
SUTS401 Sistem BlueBlue and Black dial with blue case and black strap
SUTT400 Sistem Incognito Blue dial with white case and nato army blue strap
SUTO401 Sistem TangerineBlack dial with orange case/strap
SUTB403 Sistem NotteBlue and black dial with blue case and black strap
SUTM400 Sistem Cream Black dial with white case/strap
SUTR401 Sistem Pink Blue dial with pink case/strap
SUTN401 Sistem GridWhite dial with blue case/strap

Conclusion

Swatch Sistem51 is not your typical automatic watch. There is no metal casing, no leather strap or bracelet and no typical black or white dial.

It is essentially a funky and colorful looking Swatch, with a 90-hours power reserve automatic movement inside.

Just like Swatch’s original intention 30 years ago, it is created to be a “second watch” to be used for a more casual events outside of the office and black suit events.

At $100 to $150, it is cheapest Swiss automatic watch that you can get. Don’t let the title “The Cheapest” fool you though.

Just like any other Swatch, the Sistem51 is a high quality watch built up to the Swiss quality benchmark.

 

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I hope you guys enjoy this Swatch Sistem51 review. Which one of the many Sistem51s do you prefer? Let me know in the comments section below =)

Cheers!

Isaac